Sports As A Revenue Generator
One of the justifications for the City going it alone it seems, and spending $55 million of taxpayer money on an East End arena, is all of the money that will be generated by sports tournaments. (Oh, let's get real, as several Councillors have told me recently, the cost is really in the $75-80 million range when you add in land costs and design fees).
Councillor Wilson gushes that "word is spreading among developers in town. If the new four-pad multiplex is built in the east end, there would be eight ice pads within a short distance of each other, if the rinks in the Town of Tecumseh are counted. The cluster of rinks would make the city a sports-entertainment destination for hockey tournaments and other ice sports."
Sounds pretty exciting BUT.
I have already blogged several stories about the Super Bowl effects on Detroit. Well now we do have an idea of what Super Bowl did for us, or rather did not do, thanks to Councillor Hlberstadt and his column in Biz X Magazine. I won't quote much of it so you can get it for yourself but here are some interesting parts of it
- "The first dose of reality, and this isn't a bad thing, is that the teaming downtown crowds appear to have been comprised largely of Canadians. [Note as I had previously blogged, traffic numbers at the border were down considerably!]...
traffic and sales were down at the Windsor Tunnel Duty Free Shop, attendance was up at Casino Windsor, but revenue was down. Erie Street did not see the numbers anticipated with Thursday being the busiest of the three nights...
one watering hole proprietor in Walkerville told me he experienced no spillover business. Even Ouellette Ave. bars, south of Ouellette, found business spotty as the crush occurred in the northern section featuring bars that cater to a more mature audience...
Reports from retailers were not positive. Long-time downtown stalwart Jack Shanfield described his sales on Super Weekend as "horrible." One unnamed retailer ordered in a slew of extra stock and had to return it all to his supplier."
Another story in Saturday's Star talked about the economic effects of the Pan-Am games, the four-day sporting event last July (442 athletes and 141 coaches from 35 different countries with more than 20,000 spectators):
- "...visitor, capital and operational spending related to the Pan Am Games amounted to about $11 million. But the biggest chunk of that economic pie went toward the construction of the University of Windsor stadium, which cost $9.5 million.
"If we don't include the stadium, the economic impact of the Pan Am Games (on Windsor) is not that great," Taks said. "But it's still definitely a plus for the community.
The study shows that visitors from outside Windsor and Essex County spent nearly $1 million in the city on lodging, gas, food, beverages and entertainment."
A $1 million sounds good but as a study on the economic impact of Super Bowl on Detroit states, one must look at "net new economic activity directly associated with hosting the Super Bowl that would not have otherwise have occurred in the area."
When the numbers cannot justify the expectations, we get the soft benefits "positive publicity, community involvement and volunteer work...These types of events have now given us the credibility in the market-place to be able to compete with others."
If Windsorites are prepared to spend $80 million of taxpayer money for another monument (and we know it will be more, much more) for an arena, then let's do it. We know it will be a drain every year as well as it does not meet its "profit" targets. But let us not justify it using arguments that just do not hold water, frozen or not!